HMA V LEE RODGER COYLE

Today at the High Court in Inverness Lord Matthews sentenced Lee Coyle to a total of eight and a half years imprisonment after he pled guilty to the culpable homicide of Paul Bonnar on the 7 June 2009 at Walter Scott Avenue, Edinburgh. He also pled guilty to a number of other road traffic offences.

On sentencing Lord Matthews made the following statement in court:

“Lee Rodger Coyle, for a young man you have amassed a bad record for offences involving the use of motor vehicles. In particular you have been convicted on 3 previous occasions of driving dangerously, one of those occasions encompassing 2 such contraventions.

On 6 June 2009, while on bail, you stole a car. Later you drove it dangerously along Leith Walk and London Road in Edinburgh driving at speeds between 50 and 60 mph, weaving through traffic and going through a red light. You were out and about, breaking the terms of a curfew, and you broke into a garage with intent to steal. Worst of all you assaulted Paul Bonnar by driving the stolen car at him, knocking him to the ground and then driving over him-in other words you used the car as a weapon which brought about his death at the untimely age of 30 and practically on the eve of his 31st birthday. Not content with that you drove off from the scene and later denied all knowledge of the incident when asked who had been driving. As if this were not bad enough you were driving while disqualified and, of course, without insurance.

I take account of the information contained in the Social Enquiry Report and the submissions of your Counsel Mr Stewart. I hope that these events have indeed caused you to see the light. I take account of your stated remorse which, however, in common with any sentence I can pass, will be of no comfort to the friends and family of Mr Bonnar. You were a young man when these events took place and I take account of that. However I cannot but take a serious view of these offences. Culpable homicide by the use of a weapon, which that car was, must be visited with a significant punishment. Had this matter gone to trial I would have passed a sentence of 10 years detention on you on that charge, including a period of 6 months referable to the bail aggravation. As it is, the sentence will be one of 7 ½ years detention on charge 4, to take account of your plea, with 14 weeks attributable to the bail aggravation. You will be disqualified for holding or obtaining a driving licence for 10 years and until you pass the extended test of competence to drive.

That is not an end of the matter though. On each of charges 1 and 8 you will be sentenced to 3 months detention, discounted from 4 months. 3 weeks is attributable to the bail aggravation on each charge. Those sentences will run concurrently with each other but consecutively to the sentence on charge 4. On charge 1 you will also be disqualified for a period of one year

On charge 2 you will be sentenced to detention for a period of 6 months discounted from 8 months, with 6 weeks attributable to the bail aggravation and you will be disqualified for a period of 5 years and until you pass the extended test. That sentence will be consecutive to the others which I have passed.

On charge 5 you will be detained for a period of 3 months discounted from 4 with 3 weeks attributable to the bail aggravation and you will be disqualified for a period of 2 years.

On each of charges 7 and 9 you will be admonished but you will, on the latter charge, be disqualified for one year.

Thus on this indictment you will be detained for a total period of 8 ½ years which will run from 1 November 2009. Since all the periods of disqualification will be concurrent the total will be 10 years and until you pass the extended test.

On the second indictment you will be sentenced on charge 1 to 3 months detention including 3 weeks for the bail aggravation, discounted from 4 months and you will be disqualified for 3 years on that charge. That sentence of detention will be consecutive to the sentence on the first indictment, although the disqualification will be concurrent. On charge 2 you will be admonished and disqualified for 1 year concurrently”.